Move Your Hand was recorded live at Club Harlem in Atlantic City on August 9, 1969. Organist Lonnie Smith led a small combo – featuring guitarist Larry McGee, tenor saxist Rudy Jones, bari saxist Ronnie Cuber, and drummer Sylvester Goshay – through a set that alternated originals with two pop covers, the Coasters' "Charlie Brown" and Donovan's "Sunshine Superman." Throughout, the band works a relaxed, bluesy, and, above all, funky rhythm; they abandon improvisation and melody for a steady groove, so much that the hooks of the two pop hits aren't recognizable until a few minutes into the track.
Dr. Lonnie Smith shows no signs of slowing down. Spiral is is his fifth studio album since 2003, and his fourth for Palmetto. Produced by Matt Balitsaris, Smith's trio includes guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg and drummer Jamire Williams. The program is a solid set of jazz nuggets, an original, and a couple of ballad standards. Things lead off with Jimmy Smith's "Mellow Mood," which is relaxed but hardly what the title suggests. Smith is in prime soul-jazz mode here, paying tribute to his mentor by swinging hard on the melody.
Who says you have to slow down as you get older? The honorable B-3 master, Dr. Lonnie Smith, has been on a renaissance tear since the beginning of the 21st century. Rise Up! is the fifth new recording since 2000, and there have been a number of reissues of his older work to boot. Given that some artists issue a record a year, this may not seem like such a terrific feat – but appearances are deceiving. Smith recorded only 13 albums between 1966 and 1996, so five in nine years is actually prolific. It's not only the quantity, however, it's the consistency of the quality of the records Smith has been releasing that is outstanding, and Rise Up! is no exception.
Hammond B-3 boss Dr. Lonnie Smith ends up on yet another new label with Too Damn Hot!, the follow-up to his thoroughly enjoyable – if curious – Boogaloo to Beck outing from 2003. This studio set places the organist in the company of two fine guitarists – Peter Bernstein (lead) and Rodney Jones (rhythm), and alternating drummers Greg Hutchinson and Fukushi Tainaka. The two-guitar format is lovely in that it presents a wide array of colors and harmonic textures to the proceedings.
One of Lonnie Smith's rarest albums – and one of the most obscure records on the landmark Kudu label! The set is one of Smith's most far-reaching from the 70s – a bit in the mode of his earlier records for Blue Note, but with a slightly sweeter quality that shows the shift to Kudu – where Lonnie's Hammond had lost none of its grooving power!
This reissue features cardboard sleeve jacket (gatefold sleeve). In the early '70s, Lonnie Smith's recordings frequently exhibited a debt to Jimi Hendrix's groundbreaking fusions, but he waited until 1995 to release Foxy Lady, a full-fledged tribute to the innovative guitarist. Foxy Lady was so successful that Smith decided to make another Hendrix album, again with John Abercrombie and Marvin "Smitty" Smith. Purple Haze is as entertaining as Foxy Lady – it's truly remarkable to hear how these blues-rockers can open up into soul-jazz numbers tinged with free jazz influences – and confirms not only Hendrix's composing talents, but also Smith's vision.
This reissue features cardboard sleeve jacket (gatefold sleeve). Jimi Hendrix, taken to the territory of funky Hammond jazz – thanks to a trio that features Lonnie Smith on organ and John Abercrombie on guitar! Abercrombie's lines aren't nearly as freaky and fuzzy as Jimi's, but the groove here is a really nice change – one that almost digs into the inherently soulful elements of Hendrix's music, then turns it further into a vehicle for jazz-based exploration! Marvin Smitty Smith is in drums – and titles include "Third Stone From The Sun", "Foxy Lady", "Castles Made Of Sand/Star Spangled Banner", and "Jimi Meets Miles".
Think!, organist Lonnie Smith's 1968 sophomore effort for Blue Note, is easily one of the strongest dates the Hammond B-3 master would produce for the label. Featuring a stellar group of musicians including trumpeter Lee Morgan, tenor saxophonist David Newman, guitarist Melvin Sparks, and drummer Marion Booker, Jr., as well as a three-member Afro-Latin percussion unit led by Henry "Pucho" Brown, Think! is a perfect mix of funky soul and forward-thinking jazz. Kicking things off with Hugh Masekela's instantly memorable "Son of Ice Bag," both Sparks and Newman take searching funk-flow solos while Morgan seems to be remembering a certain Masekela lick he dug.
Recorded on May 21, 1970, at Detroit's Club Mozambique, this was shelved and remained unreleased until it was retrieved for CD issue in 1995. It's odd that Blue Note decided to sit on it for so long, because it ranks as one of Lonnie's better sets. The band, featuring George Benson on guitar, is relaxed and funky without being in your face about it, and unlike much soul-jazz of the time, most of the material is original, Smith having penned six of the eight numbers. Although the riffs often owe a lot to James Brown, this is definitely at least as much jazz as soul, with Lonnie taking a rare vocal turn on "Peace of Mind."
After a long hiatus from the record shelves, the turbaned Dr. Lonnie Smith – along with guitarist John Abercrombie and drummer Marvin "Smitty" Smith – sets his sights upon John Coltrane, turning in five 'Trane tunes plus Mongo Santamaria's "Afro-Blue" and a grooving Smith tribute, "Traces of Trane." The propulsive title track is mostly dominated by Abercrombie, while "Impressions" continues the driving pace as Lonnie sprays Hammond B-3 organ notes all over the place with constant brief call-and-response dialogues with himself.